Close Encounters with Twenty Israeli Writers
By Eilat Negev
This collection of biographies is the first of its kind, as Israeli literature is almost devoid of author biographies. They are arranged chronologically and cover a hundred years of Israeli literature; the change of style and subject matter hints at the demographical and historical transformations that have occurred during this span of time. The profiles are based on interviews carried out with all the living writers, or - in the case of deceased ones - with family members, biographers and researchers. In the early days of the State, Jaffa oranges were the pride export of Israel; and then came diamonds; and, nowadays, it is books. Israelis are going through dramatic, turbulent events, experiencing an existential, social and religious crisis. This intense life means that Israelis occupy several layers of existence, which create many kinds of personal experiences that writers in other countries seldom experience. Thus, a reading of the writers' profiles offers a different way of viewing Israel, since each writer has taken a part in events outside his or her own personal scope. All this becomes their subject matter, and Israel writing provides a wide panorama not just of literature but also of Israeli life.
Publication Date: 4/1/2003